With travel diseases being an unavoidable risk, improved access to vaccines is changing the travel game.
As accessible and trusted health care professionals, pharmacists serve their communities in important ways every day. In Ontario, they’re also now playing a greater role in travel health. Pharmacists have the skills, knowledge, and training to administer travel vaccines, and with tourism and travel on the rise, this increased accessibility comes at the perfect time.
The danger of travel diseases
“With globalization and flights being more affordable, everyone is travelling these days for either business or pleasure,” says Pavithra Ravi, a registered pharmacist. “Travel diseases are something we need to be more aware of nowadays.”
Travel diseases are incredibly common and include diarrhea in travellers caused by enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis. At best, these illnesses can ruin a vacation. At worst, they can cause serious health consequences.
Fortunately, many are preventable, and you can protect yourself before your next trip.
Pharmacists have the skills, knowledge, and training to administer travel vaccines, and with tourism and travel on the rise, this increased accessibility comes at the perfect time.
Improving patient access
Pharmacists’ scope of practice varies in Canada from province to province. As of 2016, legislature from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care allows pharmacists in Ontario to administer many travel vaccines to patients — a convenience that not every Canadian can enjoy.
This expanded scope of practice for pharmacists gives Ontario patients improved access to the vaccines they need to stay healthy abroad.
“We’re one of the most accessible health care providers out there,” says Ravi. “You can walk into most pharmacies and ask the pharmacist for the advice or service you need.” Pharmacists also offer advice on other aspects of travel health, such as travelling with medications and food, water, and insect safety.
Travelling soon or planning a trip? Visit your local pharmacist at least four to six weeks before your departure to learn more about travel vaccines and how you can help ensure healthy travels.